11 Interesting Facts About Colombia

Colombia is known for its significant natural resources, modern cities, and a diverse culture. The government has made great strides in recent years to secure peace with revolutionaries, minimize crime, and protect its strong democratic institutions and the country boasts at growing economy. Here are 11 interesting facts about Colombia.

  • Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, after only Brazil which is 10 times its size, and one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries. It has the highest amount of species by area in the world, including more species of bird than all of Europe and North America combined.
  • The official name of Colombia is the Republic of Colombia and is derived from the last name of explorer Christopher Columbus. The country’s name is pronounced Col-o-mbia, not Col-u-mbia, which is a common mistake by non-Spanish speaking visitors.
  • Colombia is the only country in South America that has coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
  • The area covered by modern day Colombia was originally inhabited by the indigenous tribes Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. In 1499 the Spanish arrived and colonized the area, calling it New Granada.
  • Colombia has a vibrant music scene. Two of the best known Colombian musicians are Shakira and Juanes.
  • The traditional national sport of Colombia is called Tejo, a team sport that involves launching objects at a target. The most popular sport in Colombia is football (soccer). The Colombian national team won the 2001 Copa América (South American Championship).
  • It is mandatory for radio and public television in Colombia to play the national anthem every day at 6 am and 6 pm.
  • Colombia is home to the Cano Cristales – the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow.” Located in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta, the river’s bed changes color between yellow, green, blue, black, and especially red, beginning the end of July and through November.
  • Age is valued in Colombia. The older a person is, the more powerful their voice becomes. Elders are deeply respected throughout the country.
  • Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, at 13,000m, is the world’s highest coastal mountain range. It is also has moved more than a thousand miles in the last 170 million years.
  • Colombia is the world’s leading source of emeralds. It is also the third largest exporter of coffee in the world after Brazil and Vietnam.

Learn more about our educational travel programs to Colombia.